If you are a Florida parent looking forward to your post-divorce life, be aware that you cannot just pick up and leave if you decide to move somewhere else. Per Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes, you cannot move more than 50 miles from your current residence without court approval.
Most judges readily approve a divorced parent’s relocation, particularly if the child’s other parent agrees to it. Consequently, the first thing you should do when you start thinking above moving is to notify your former spouse. Make sure to tell him or her how this move will benefit not only you, but also the child you share with him or her.
If you can get your former spouse to consent to your contemplated move, you and (s)he can sign a written agreement for the judge to approve that includes the following:
- Your former spouse’s consent to your move
- Your revised visitation and parenting schedule
- The transportation arrangements you and (s)he agreed to to ensure that your child maintains as close a relationship as possible with his or her other parent
Should your discussions with your former spouse come to naught and (s)he refuses to consent to your contemplated move, you will then need to file a Petition to Relocate with the court. This petition should include the following:
- The new state and city in which you and your child will live and the actual street address if you already know it
- Your new mailing address if it differs from your new physical address
- Your new area code and phone number if you know it
- Your proposed moving date
- Your proposed post-move visitation schedule
- Your reason(s) why you want to relocate with your child
When you file your petition with the court clerk, make sure you get a file-stamped copy back from him or her for serving on your former spouse, who will then have 20 days to file any objections (s)he has to your move. If (s)he doesn’t, the judge likely will approve your relocation as being in the best interests of your child.
Should your former spouse file objections, however, the court will schedule a hearing at which both you and (s)he will have the opportunity to present arguments in support of your respective positions. As happened at your original custody hearing, the judge will look to your child’s best interests when (s)he decides whether or not to grant you permission to move.
This is educational information only and not legal advice.